The Paranormal Database

Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Yorkshire Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

William Batt

Location: Birstall - Oakwell Hall
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: 09 December 1684 (Crisis Manifestation), other sighting in 1987
Further Comments: William's family saw him enter the hall on 09 December (some sources say Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve, according to other accounts); they were surprised as they thought he was in London at the time. However, William suddenly disappeared and the following day the family discovered he had been killed in London around the time of his mysterious appearance. A woman wearing a Tudor dress was spotted here in 1987 by an employee. The ghost stood by a window for several minutes before disappearing.

The Holly and the Ivy

Location: Birstall - White Horse Inn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000
Further Comments: The landlord of this public house reported that a phantom female voice could be heard singing Christmas carols. A figure resembling a nun has been spotted in the back of the building, near the public toilets.

White Lady

Location: Boltby - Road leading into village
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: June 2012, around midnight
Further Comments: One witness in a car reported seeing a white woman wearing an old fashioned party dress, although the woman's legs disappeared below the knee and the face was blurred. The witness said it was like watching a 'replay', and although the witness's car headlights did not illuminate the figure, the woman was visible against the darkness of the environment.

Tall Woman in Black

Location: Boltby Bank - Track between Bilsdale & Thirsk
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Murdered by her husband before he escaped to mainland Europe, this lady once haunted a hall that stood nearby. Once demolished, she took to haunting the surrounding area.

An old postcard of Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire.

Walking Monk

Location: Bolton Abbey - Bolton Priory - area between abbey and ruins of priory
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 18 August 1912
Further Comments: This figure trudges across the land, forever carrying on with an unknown task that connects the two buildings. The apparition was last seen in the rectory by Lord Hartington, who said the figure had a round faced and was unshaven.

Tom Hoggett

Location: Boroughbridge - Great North Road (A1), between town and Scotch Corner
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This former highwayman, wearing a coat so long it almost drags along the ground, is still thought to lay in wait for the unwary along this stretch of road.

Devil's Bolts

Location: Boroughbridge - Standing Stones, in a field near Aldborough
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Stones still present
Further Comments: These large standing stones are said to have been thrown by Old Nick at Aldborough, an old Christian settlement that once stood here. After failing to hit his target, the Devil hanged himself from the largest stone!

Romans hiding Treasure

Location: Bowes - Castle ruins
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Murdered by an angry mob, these Romans all died before any could reveal where they stashed their gold. While their ghosts are now said to show the location of the treasure, those who see them die before they can share the secret.

An old woodcut image of a hand of glory.

Hand of Glory

Location: Bowes Moor - Old Spital Inn (currently a farmhouse?)
Type: Other
Date / Time: 1790s
Further Comments: One of the few places the Hand of Glory has been used. This item is made from the hand of a murderer, with candles placed between each finger. Once these are lit, every person asleep in an area remains unconscious until the flames are extinguished by milk. A band of robbers tried to use the hand while burgling this inn, though a maid was still awake when the candles were lit; she doused them with milk, enabling the landlord to wake and scare the robbers off with his shotgun.

John Dawson

Location: Bowland - Bashall Eaves
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Murdered in 1934 by persons unknown, John's ghost has been reported flitting around the site where he was found.

Upset Skull

Location: Bowland - Bowland Hall
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Removing this macabre item from the hall results in a sudden increase in the family mortality rate. Hence, it stays.

Dropped Rocks

Location: Bradfield - Apronful of Stones
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: As the name of the place suggests, this ancient monument was created when the Devil dropped an apron full of stones while on route to one of his many building projects.

Grey Lady

Location: Bradfield - Strines Inn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Situated on the moors west of Sheffield, this isolated inn is reportedly home to a phantom grey lady.

Grey Lady

Location: Bradford - Bolling Hall
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1600s and 2010
Further Comments: The Earl of Newcastle once had Bradford under siege and took up residence in the Hall until the battle was truly won. However, the ghostly grey lady appeared to him several times over four nights and begged him to release the town. The Earl did so. Another ghost here has been named as Richard Oastler, who promised he would return to the hall if there really was an afterlife... In 2010, John Holmes took a photograph which showed a strange female face in a bedroom.

Former Player

Location: Bradford - Bradford Football Club
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: January 1905, around midnight
Further Comments: After spotting a light in the pavilion, groundsman Jennings investigated and spotted a man in the team's colours within the building. Jennings summoned a police officer and upon returning to the site, no light or man could be found, and everything was locked up. Some believed the figure was Jack Hawkcridge, a former player at the club who had died a few days previous.

Man in Grey

Location: Bradford - Club house at the West Bowling Golf Club
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Early 1970s
Further Comments: A ghostly figure in a grey suit was seen by a barmaid in the women's toilet. The caretaker reported seeing balls move around the snooker table late at night, and hearing footsteps in an empty locker room.

Fairy Photographs

Location: Bradford - Cottingley, fields around
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1917
Further Comments: Becoming world famous, the handful of fairy photographs taken here by the girls Elsie & Frances are still a bone of contention in the fortean world. The book by Joe Cooper, 'The Case of the Cottingley Fairies', is worth reading for further (and very detailed) information.


Location: Bradford - Dog & Gun public house, Wibsey
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: January 2015
Further Comments: Said to be 'historically haunted', although by what is unclear, this public house featured in the local press after CCTV caught 'orbs' in the cellar and bar (most likely to be created by dust and a strong light source close to the lens).

Floating Heads

Location: Bradford - Mount Royd
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1997
Further Comments: Photographed by a local girl, two bodiless heads can be seen in a night-time image, floating along the street. Due to the blurred image, however, there could be a rational explanation. See Fortean Times issue 123 for the photograph.

Guard Duty

Location: Bradford - Paper Hall, near Church Bank
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This figure donned in shiny white armour was seen holding a spear and whistling merrily by a man walking past the hall.

The skies above Bradford in Yorkshire.

Big Bird

Location: Bradford - Skies above town
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1982 / 83
Further Comments: A large bird seen in the skies above the town was originally identified as an eagle or an escaped condor by its witnesses; twenty years later a few of them claimed it to have been a pterodactyl.

Sir Henry Irving

Location: Bradford - Theatre Royal
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: The location he last played before dying, Irving is still said to walk the floor at the theatre.

Water Spirit

Location: Bradley - White Cross Inn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1980s
Further Comments: This ghost, though to be a former landlord, would flush the toilet late at night, and create puddles of water and beer in places where these liquids could not possibly form naturally.


Location: Bradshaw - Field (exact location withheld)
Type: Other
Date / Time: Circa 1977
Further Comments: Strange 'reaper-like' figures were spotted by children. The black-clad, hooded figures herded cattle in a nearby field, causing confusion and upset amongst the children. Adults with the children were unable to see the figures. Thirty years later, one of the witnesses shared the story with a friend who lived near the field, who said that they had also seen the figures.

Something Felt by Dogs

Location: Bridlington - Bessingby Fields
Type: Other
Date / Time: Circa 2014
Further Comments: Dogs are reported to behave strangely in a specific part of the park where it is speculated a Roman road once ran.

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